Skip to main content
1:00 am
tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight, a conversation with grammy-winning rap artist t.i > he has faced his share of adversity over the past several years, to be sure. including high-profile legal problems in addition to a forthcoming cd. a new book called trouble in triumph, we are glad you have joined us. >> there is a saying that dr. king had said, there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out.
1:01 am
>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: please welcome t.i. back to this program out with a later cd -- with a cd later this year. he has also just released a new book. of or get to that, here is video for go get it.
1:02 am
♪ ♪ tavis: and now a book. you stay busy, man. how have you been? >> i have been blessed. tavis: david work on you with this project, he is a wonderful collaborator. he did more than gays a book, and ray charles, aretha franklin, b became. he has talked all the greats but
1:03 am
this is a little different because this is a novel. >> the first fictional novel. our paths crossed because he had intentions or aspirations for doing my biography. and i had to wrap my mind around the idea of being a 29-year-old with a biography. tavis: no memoirs at 29. >> he said, i always wanted to do fiction. with his began brainstorming immediately. he said he wanted to do if in the world that i know. we just collectively created this world and these characters in this plot. we have been off to the races ever since. you know what? a thing of a little biased.
1:04 am
because i am really close to it. but the response from the people that actually read it is phenomenal. his it is received very well. i can tell how anxious people are making sure that i expedited the process. you know, they were somewhat cost file and airports. how did you leave me hanging like that? it doesn't come out tomorrow? i am flattered by it. tavis: how is the process of writing music uniquely different or similar to creating characters in a book or novel. when you write songs, you create that as well. >> for the songs, unless it is like a complete fabricated
1:05 am
story or narrative throughout the entire song, you have to continue to create plots and character development and keep up with the same thing from beginning to end. if you're just doing a song, it is more about you, most of the time. it is about you or someone you feel a certain way about. this is not me. is not my likes or dislikes are my opinions. it is religious completely fictional characters drawn up from nothing. tavis: none of this is autobiographical. without giving the story line a way, how would you describe what this is? >> of the best way to describe the second but -- a second book is that it picks up where the first one left off. it continues on with the development of these characters
1:06 am
and what the past that he -- the path that each of them takes itself down. power is a young man, duty as a young lady. they were raised together in the same household after her mother passed. powers mother adopted duty as their own. they grew up from about 13-17 as a brother and sister and that 17, his mother also died. through that brief and that terrible time in their lives, they uncover hidden feelings about each other. from there, duty decides to take a path and she is doing things the way she saw fit. power is taken under the wing of a very cynical but powerful young man, an older man in
1:07 am
atlanta. the paths were different, but they always kept each other on their mind. everyone really wants to see whether or not they and the together or not. tavis: this is the best word i can come up with right now. what is the trick? or what is the genius to writing a book that appeals to women readers? you were making the point earlier about what asking where the next book is. women love rap, but we think of rap as a man's game. fairly or unfairly, rightly or wrongly, we think of it as a man's game. >> to be honest with you, the challenges of finding something that is sexy in dangerous at the same time. tavis: women like both?
1:08 am
i am just trying to learn from you. sexy and dangerous. >> you have the have a very compelling love story but how the stakes raised so high that anyone could die at any moment. but they do it in the name of love. tavis: power and beauty, trouble and a triumph. maybe sexy and dangerous is the next one. i want my royalty check if you go with that. i want to come back to david for one particular reason. when you were doing your music, i know you said earlier and that this stuff is about her youth or the artist is connected to it in some way. is your sic written collaborative lee or do that solo? >> don't get me wrong, i have production teams the lyrical
1:09 am
content is usually me. i might accept the hook from someone, but i don't have verses written because i have always been an artist that has been respected and held in high regard for bringing my life. no one else can write my life for me but me. tavis: the up side of that is that you sell millions of records. is there a challenge or a downside to being so transparent about your life? >> the only downside is that people always feel like they know you, even when they don't. you only knew what i told you. there are other things that i chose not to mention, for whatever reason that leaves you in the dark. you're still observing from a limited space. but i think all in all, that is
1:10 am
the best way to connect to the people. in today's climate, the music industry, given all of the digital technology, there has to be something more than the music that drives people to you. for me, if i have a hot sun or not, and these people are turning into my life. just about the song is doing well on the charts. tavis: you mean the books, the reality tv, the clothing line. >> the lifestyle i have lived since i was a youngster and the lifestyle i have been blessed enough to walk into right now. i am delivering this lifestyle and you can't let go lifestyle. tavis: i like that.
1:11 am
you can't bootleg a lifestyle. but is there a danger in putting out there, for your fanbase, a lifestyle you can't have. all rappers are selling a lifestyle that while they can't bootleg it, they can have it. >> i don't believe there is any human being that if he puts 100% of his time, effort, and energy into achieving a goal that it can't happen. i simply don't believe that. for people that say they never can, your faith is weak and you don't deserve to achieve it. anybody with the right amount of skill, effort, energy, and ingenuity can accomplish anything. tavis: i don't believe everybody
1:12 am
is as gifted as you are. >> they don't have to make it this way in music. they can make it this way and marketing, journalism, so many different things. photography, directing. some people spend so much time focusing on the gift that other people have the day don't ever take acknowledgement to the gifts they have been blessed with. that is a waste of talent. tavis: given a significant portion of what your base is, i believe in hard work is one of the ingredients that go along with being successful. i think there are institutional and structural barriers to keep people from being able to elevate no matter have gifted or talented they might be.
1:13 am
to that particular course of your base that is stuck in poverty, what say you to them about trying to find a way out, even though they know they are gifted and talented, they can't seem to find a break that they need? >> are probably lean back on the theory that when god closes the door, he opens a window. you have to take whole consideration in the mind of opportunities that might be presenting itself. and you might be a little bit more close minded because it is not what you want. to me, i honestly feel that anybody who truly applies faith and if you are sincere, you pray, and you work hard, you make sacrifices, i don't see how
1:14 am
that can produce progress. i can teach anybody different that i was taught. but if you can accept that you are stuck here, all you really need is a temporary motivation. something to take your mind off your circumstances. tavis: there are many things i love and respect about you, but you have never refused answer a question. it is a strange business when they tried to tell you up front, he will come on but don't ask about this. i don't play that. people don't do that to me because i don't like being done that way. you have always been open and you have always been transparent. because you're a been open about the troubles you have had, how is that you go about your process from learning from the mistakes that you make? what is your process for
1:15 am
learning from the trouble you get yourself into? and how does your audience, that your fans see in your life that you learned from that? does that make sense? >> one way i think, you have to keep watching. there is no one answer that i can give that will say, he got it. you learn the most about people when you watch them and they don't know they're being watched. you have to keep observing. eventually, if all that i believe to be true is so, you will see that my actions will speak for me. i think that self-observation and acknowledgement of responsibilities that what had it in whatever circumstances may
1:16 am
be, making the necessary adjustments. those of the skills it makes to turn things around. how well i am doing, it will take time for people to observe. i think i'm doing a lot better than i was. today, i am doing great. tavis: as you said earlier, you can't bootleg a lifestyle. >> i want royalties. tavis: yo ucan't -- you can't bootleg a life, but how do you decide what you want to talk about and what you don't want to talk about. we only know what you tell us, so how do decide what you want to share? >> relevance would be one thing. the truth, the element of truth.
1:17 am
if something is not true, i just shrugged it off and i don't care to speak about it. there have been a lot of rumors circulating about me and my family for quite some time, but you worry about the truth. you don't have to put speak on the allies. relevance in truth will probably be the most compelling elements to whether or not i added it into the music. tavis: since your reference your family, there are a number of families that have made decisions to put their life or part of their life on television. whole gamut of people that have decided to do that. what is the reason why you decided to do that. >> i wanted to make sure that people that attended the judge and criticized, that they were able to do it from a place of
1:18 am
knowledge and understanding. you can see a full picture and not just judge me based on isolated incidents and glimpses of my life. consideration for the life i have led. d t wm to see who i was as a man and who we were as a family. if you still a share in the same sentiment about me, go right ahead. but at least now you know. tavis: the mistakes you mentioned earlier, the truth and the allies, does it matter to you what people think of you? >> it used to. i am numb to it now. tavis: what brought it on?
1:19 am
>> i overdosed. tavis: you overdosed on sharing what they thought. maybe not hearing will bring about some sort of a change. interesting. you have another project dropping in december. what are we going to hear from this one. >> you will probably hear me say a few times that i don't care. it is really just a presentation of mean and why i feel like de tho ywa ti do the way that i do. if there was, they would have stepped up and down that by now. i have been gone for a minute, you know. the music business moves fast.
1:20 am
somebody could have stepped up and taken my place. tavis: were you concerned about that? i'm not suggesting i am all that, but i have been at this for 20 years. i remember years ago, i would not take a vacation because those afraid to let somebody sit in for me and that they would be better than me and the network may not invite me back after vacation. i long since got over that and now i can't get enough days off. there is a confidence that comes with doing it for a while and if they want somebody else, they can get somebody else but i was scared for a long time to disappear. i didn't want anybody to the look back because they might be gaining on you. or you afraid at any point, concerned about stepping away from the game for so long? music moves at the speed of light. >> i gave it careful
1:21 am
consideration, but i don't know if you're ever applied. you must knowledge that the possibility exists, but i feel like you can't deny talent and hard work. and integrity, and relationships. the things that most people take for granted, the things that other people don't take the time or have enough courtesy to do, i have been doing for 12 years. i don't think that there is anyone that can outdo me better than me. tavis: i have been reading about the collaboration's on this project. >> every project to try to find a way to work with people that i haven't worked with before. and this time around, i had the pleasure of working with andre 3000.
1:22 am
i have the pleasure of working with pink, cee lo, lil wayne, r. kelly, and you know, all of my albums are like memoirs for this moment in my life. it details the state i am at the time. basically, they're going to be some things that remind you of vintage me and things that don't sound like anything you have ever heard before. tavis: is that frightening for you, to push away from what people have heard? i have talked to so many artists over the years that will admit to doing a certain discomfort in trying to get their audience to listen to something new. that is not always he who easy.
1:23 am
>> you have to repeat the same suit. give them the entire five course meal of that. you might give them an appetizer of something that they are used to and then you mix the up a little bit with the entree. you just give them something they are familiar with and then throw them off a little bit with something they may not be familiar with. tavis: let me close with this. you walk on the set, i said i saw you again last night, they keep playing american gangster like it just came out. cable networks love this movie. i was acting coming along? >> is going great. i have tons of opportunities on the horizon i am looking forward to.
1:24 am
my next one comes out a march of 2013 called id theft starring jason bateman and melissa mccarthy. directed by seth grogan. you know, we really are just doing what we do, doing the best i can at trying this music they can diversify and myself as a thoroughbred espn. tavis: you are brand unto yourself. of the new book is called the trouble at trial, a novel of power and beauty. i will see you again soon, i hope. stay strong. you can down of our application and i tunes, see you next time on pbs. thanks for watching and as always, keep the faith. ♪
1:25 am
>> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with columnist and author john walsh as we approach one month before election day. see you then. >> there is a saying that dr. king had said, there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to
1:26 am
fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. pbs. pbs.
1:27 am
1:28 am
1:29 am

Tavis Smiley
WETA October 6, 2012 1:00am-1:30am EDT

News/Business. (2012) Hip-hop artist T.I. Harris. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Pbs 3, Dr. King 2, Tavis Smiley 2, U.s. 2, Us 2, Los Angeles 1, Lil Wayne 1, Ray Charles 1, Fanbase 1, Atlanta 1, Lifestyle 1, John Walsh 1, R. Kelly 1, Yo Uca 1, Espn 1, Smiley 1, Memoirs 1, D T Wm 1, Seth Grogan 1, Melissa Mccarthy 1
Network WETA
Duration 00:30:00
Scanned in Annapolis, MD, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 78 (549 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 10/6/2012